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#SJA2017: no-one has a stronger case than Chris Froome

The voting has opened for Sportsman, Sportswoman and Sports Team of the Year at the SJA British Sports Awards sponsored by the National Lottery. As far as JON RYAN is concerned, there is only one man in contention.

I have been a fan of the Tour De France ever since I can remember, long before it was live on television. The tragic Tommy Simpson was a hero and so were all the British riders who managed to win even a stage. Then we – well Ireland’s Stephen Roche – won it.

That was close enough but then along came Wiggo – Paul Weller on a bike –  winning it. Now we have Chris Froome, four times winner and now winner of the Tour of Spain – La Vuelta – in the same season.

No-one can have a stronger case to finally win the SJA Sportsman of the Year award. But because of his birthplace and the tainted image of his sport people don’t think he deserves any acclaim.

It is ridiculous to say he isn’t British. Both his parents are British and while he was born in Kenya it is worth recalling that Sir Bradley Wiggins was born in Belgium. 

As for cycling’s reputation , no one can have been more vociferous about the sport cleaning up its act. Certainly no one has been tested more than Froome in his success around the globe.

He has had to deal with insults and worse on the roads but isn’t it time now to laud this tough, gracious and modest quietly spoken athlete who lets his achievements speak for him?

It is unlikely that any British cyclist will equal what Froome achieved in the summer of 2017 – another victory in the most gruelling sports event there is topped off by winning another grand tour. 

Only legends Jacques Anquetil, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Miguel Indurain have more victories in the Tour de France. Next year he will go for a fifth victory but no one deserves to win the SJA award this year more than Froome. 

Voting closes on Wednesday November 8.

The SJA charity partner for the British Sports and British Sports Journalism Awards is Alzheimer’s Society.  Unite now – text UNITE to 70677 to donate £3 a month or visit alzheimers.org.uk/donatetoday

 

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